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Security |

Pentagon releases video, photos of al-Baghdadi raid

By AFP

Pentagon releases footage of raid on ISIS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's compound in north-western Syria on October 26th that resulted in his death.

The Pentagon released video and photos on Wednesday (October 30th) of the US special forces raid that resulted in the death of "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Grainy black-and-white footage showed US troops approaching on foot the high-walled compound in north-western Syria where al-Baghdadi was holed up.

The Pentagon also released video of airstrikes on a group of unknown fighters on the ground who opened fire on the helicopters that ferried US forces in for the assault on al-Baghdadi's Idlib province compound.

Before and after pictures of the isolated compound also were released.

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A side-by-side comparison of the compound occupied by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi before and after the October 26th raid by US special operations forces showing no collateral damage to adjacent structures. [US Department of Defence]

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This photo illustration taken October 28th in Washington shows an AFP employee looking at a picture of the dog that helped capture ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. [STR/AFP]

The compound was razed by US munitions after the raid, leaving it looking like "a parking lot with large potholes", said Marine Corps Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, commander of US Central Command.

McKenzie also provided several new details about Sunday's raid.

He said two children had been killed -- not three as previously reported -- when al-Baghdadi blew himself up in a tunnel as he tried to escape US troops.

He said the children appeared to be under the age of 12.

"About al-Baghdadi's last moments, I could tell you this," he said. "He crawled into a hole with two small children and blew himself up while his people stayed on the ground."

Al-Baghdadi "may have fired from his hole in his last moments", he added.

McKenzie said that in addition to al-Baghdadi and the two children, four women and one man were killed at the compound.

He said the women had acted in a "threatening manner" and were wearing suicide vests.

ISIS remains dangerous

McKenzie said a "substantial" amount of electronics and documents had been recovered from the compound.

He said al-Baghdadi's remains had been flown back to the staging base for the raid for identification, and that he had been identified through comparison with his DNA, which had been on file since his 2004 detention in an Iraqi prison.

Al-Baghdadi was then buried at sea within 24 hours of his death "in accordance with the laws of armed conflict", McKenzie said.

McKenzie said that despite al-Baghdadi's death, ISIS remains "dangerous".

"We are under no illusions that it will go away just because we killed al-Baghdadi," he said. "It will remain."

'We want to see justice'

Nobel Peace Prize winner Nadia Murad said Wednesday that al-Baghdadi's death was not enough to compensate for the atrocities committed by ISIS.

"We do not want to just see ISIS, like al-Baghdadi, just get killed. We want to see justice," said Murad, a Yazidi who survived three months of captivity in Iraq in 2014 at the hands of ISIS.

Murad became a voice for the Yazidis, founding an organisation to help women and children victimized by genocide, mass atrocities and human trafficking.

Murad said she had spoken to several Yazidi survivors about al-Baghdadi's death.

Their response, she said, was "Okay, but this is just al-Baghdadi. What about all ISIS (fighters)? They still have our girls, children. What about the thousands of Yazidis still missing?"

"There are thousands of ISIS like al-Baghdadi and they are ready to do what he did, and they already did and they are not giving up. So we want to see more, we want to see them in justice," she said.

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